Sunday

I’m reading a book called Buddhism without Beliefs, by Stephen Batchelor. A quick summary of this book might be: You can use the dharma practices from Buddhism without believing in it as a religion. It’s something that you do, not something you believe in.

I will read this book more than once.

Some of my biggest take-aways are:

Negative emotions are transient. They arise, and they pass away - if you let them. You have to let them go. LET GO...so the mantra goes.

You really are not independent of the bigger world around you. There's a greater sensitivity you can tune into when you realize your position as a part of the whole world.

You live in a constantly changing world, you can't really 'hit the brakes' and freeze the here and now. You have to move with the world around you, or it'll knock you off balance.

The origin of anguish is craving. Cravings will come - and they'll go away too if you let them.

I guess it's common sense stuff in a way, obvious stuff.

Sometimes I worry that it only does me good while I'm actually reading it. As soon as I set the book down, my stresses return. Maybe I'm not taking it in deeply enough. Maybe it's in one ear and out the other. I have been guilty of ignoring common sense in the past.

I don't know. Keri says she thinks I'm doing a lot better...I seem a lot less stressed out, she says.

Maybe I'll just keep reading this kind of stuff for the rest of my life - or as long as . . . something. Maybe that's what it takes to keep this particular mind right.

I wasn't terribly horribly bad off before I started reading all of this kind of stuff...but maybe I can feel even better.

Is this inner peace crap taking the fire out of my belly? (Was there a fire to begin with?) Are you smothering creativity when you seek total peace? Without the emotions churning in you, you don't really feel anything maybe. You are uninspired. Well, Batchelor's book and some others I've read lately say no - you will start see the world in all its beauty and creativity if you're not dogged by negative emotions. I don't know. Who knows...do you know?

10 comments:

NoRegrets said...

Hard for me to say, but I think it just creates differences, but not necessarily extinguishes.

Celticspirit said...

Have you read any books by the Dalai Lama? When I read books written by him and about Buddhism I also felt that inner peace and it's something we can all try to achieve. Peace to you.

whimsical brainpan said...

I know some Buddhist principles have helped me a lot. My therapist uses them quite a bit with me. I don't think it has stiffled my creativity.

Have you read The Tao of Pooh? It's one of my favorites.

Pacian said...

You know, I picked that book up years ago, thought about buying it and then put it down. I was never able to find it again.

Sometimes I wish that I had the strength to be passionate and face up the world's injustices, but I prefer to hide under my duvet.

Geosomin said...

I'm not sure either. My husband feels things so very deeply; both joy and despair are strong for him. It's inspiring and worrying at times. He like to read for the tought that is inspired by the topics he has read...the distraction that contemplation can bring. Sometimes you have to step back from things to get perpective...maybe reading lets you do that?
Me? I think if you find something that inspired you it is not so much emotion or joy that causes success, but the feeling of being fullfilled...a sense of accomplishment. I'm always rather level headed and calm and tend to envy strong emotions in others. I'm a doer more than a thinker. but then I have the opposite proble - I cannot always make myself deal with things that must be dealt with or focused on deeply...

Perhaps reading these things helps you focus and relax...and thereby not worry so much. I think it's good to step back sometimes...

Bobby said...

NoRegrets: Maybe it is a different brand of creativity. Or a different window to look out of in a part of the house that is not on fire.

Celticspirit: My wife has a several books by the Dalai Lama, and she'll read me some passages. She's really the one who got me reading these things. A few years ago for her birthday, back when we lived in Washington, DC, I took her to see the Dalai Lama speak. It was really moving. You could just feel something. It was something new to me, that feeling. It was great.

whimsical brainpan: A lot of the nonreligious things I've read about dealing with negative emotions draws on Buddhist principles, for sure. You know, we have that book, The Tao of Pooh on our shelf. I'm going to read that one for sure.

Pacian: What's a duvet? Ha just kidding. No, I'm not, what's a duvet? Ha, I remember a scene in that movie Fight Club (not a movie to quote in this context but...) these two guys are sitting there and one of them asks, Do you know what a duvet is? Is this essential information in the hunter gatherer sense? Why would a man need to know what a duvet is? Ah, Fight Club. There was some wisdom in that one. I think.

Geosomin: I'll trade you some strong emotions for some calm, and I'll trade you some thinkin' for some doin' . . . ha. Stepping back a few magnifications and reframing it and getting the bigger picture - - yes indeed, that is some serious wisdom that I try to keep in mind. Sometimes I just can't peel my face off the problems that are right in my face...

laura b. said...

Sounds like something I'd enjoy reading.

I don't think releasing one's negative energy causes complacency. I think it clears your mind so that you can fight the battles you chose more effectively.

citizen of the world said...

I've wanted to read this book. Thich Nhat Hahn says you don't have to leave your religion (if you have one) to practice Buddhism. Mindfulness is a universal. I would think that if anything, being able to create a place of stillness would only foster creativity.

Bobby said...

I'm not sure why I'm so worried about dwindling creativity...

Keri said...

maybe it isn't creativity though... when you are filled with very intense emotion you are focused. the focus allows glimpses of awareness/ mindfulness to sneak in. what if you could tap into that creativity energy without needing to be pushed to the edge?